A Little Extra

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It all boils down to this.  In eleven days, I will have completed the first part of achieving my goals.  Keeping my nose clean for that long shouldn’t be a problem.  A&P hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.  I started out rough, but have managed to turn things around and barring a catastrophe on my final, I should end the semester with an A.

I have learned about more than just A&P in this class though.  My instructor is a County Paramedic and along the way, he has managed to incorporate little tidbits of useful information into our classroom lectures.  You see, he is a believer that not only should a good medic know how to assess what is wrong with a patient and know what drug to give, but they should know why that drug is used and exactly how it works.  For example, during our lecture on the nervous system, he got into Rapid Sequence Intubation. He explained to the class what each drug does, and why it’s given.  Our lecture on Wednesday made me think a little bit though.  We somehow ended up on the topic of protocols.  He pulled up his agencies protocol “novel” and explained how it’s organized, and highlighted some of the very aggressive protocols they use.  He was skimming through the cardiac section and that’s when my brain started working.  The have access to Lucas Devices, ICE therapy, and Lifepak 15’s.  I asked him if the ICE therapy was as successful for them as it seems to be for everyone else.  Of course, he started his reply by explaining to us exactly what hypothermic therapy does, and how it works in a cardiac arrest situation.  He then rattled off some stats that blew my mind.  80% of their patients that had ROSC walked out of the hospital neurologically intact.  Keep in mind, that’s not 80% of their Cardiac Arrest patients.  But to have that many that they were able to get a pulse back for walk out of the hospital the way they were before the arrest, it blew my mind.

It excited me and yet at the same time I was a little saddened by it.  Working for a small private, we don’t have the luxury of having access to the equipment they have.  Our Medical Director is very aggressive as far as her protocols go.  She actually has in place the ability for us to use ICE and the Lucas device.  However, being a private, we don’t have the financial ability to provide these tools.  It almost isn’t fair. With the contracts we have, I would think that those types of tools would be a necessity, not a high priced option.  Now, I realize that the equipment used in pre-hospital medicine isn’t cheap…from the thousands spent on stretchers, Lifepaks, and ambulances, among other things.  But there should be a way for small, independent companies to have access to these incredible tools of the trade.  Being a current EMT, I wouldn’t be as involved working with this stuff, and trust me, I wouldn’t wish the use of these things on any of the Medics I work with, but wouldn’t it be nice to have access to them if we needed them?  Instead of just being able to give that 85 year old male some drugs and Fast Patches for that cardiac arrest, wouldn’t it be better to be able to induce hypothermia to increase his chances of surviving this ordeal?

Perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my part.  I honestly believe to some extent that it is.  But with me pursuing what I am, and being as much of a sponge for knowledge that I have become, I can’t help but wonder.


Another One Down

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Another year has come and gone.  Yes, 37 years ago today, I decided I was going to bless the world with my presence.  This last year has been one of the most important ones in my life though.  At this time last year, I was getting ready to celebrate 15 years at the factory. A little under half way to being able to retire and travel the country….or read about it in my back yard.  But that all would change about a month later to the day.  I lost that job, and with it, my pension, retirement, and my life.

I thought my world was over.  Boy was I wrong.  In the eleven months since I was let go, I have began to embark on this saga that I hope you all enjoy reading about.  I have met some unbelievably incredible people.  And I have learned one thing.  Sometimes in life, you have to hit rock bottom before you can work your way back up.  At some point, I’m sure I will share the story behind this lesson, but for now, I am looking forward to the most insane, stressful, most beautiful year of my life.  At this time next year, I will be preparing to get myself ready for the National Registry.  And with that, the beginning of the next chapter in my life.  Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me through this.  Especially my PIC.  Without her, I don’t know if all this would be possible right now.  Be safe everyone.

The First Stumble

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I should be doing homework right now.  I should have my nose buried in this A&P book, cranking out Nervous System questions.  But here I sit, staring out my window, not feeling it.  I don’t know if it’s lack of motivation, lack of desire (I know I have somewhat hit that point right now…I’m starting to question things at this point), or the fact that I’m half way through my semester and have hit the wall so to speak.  All I know, is any edge and decompression my weekend at MIS gave me, is long gone.  I have had a total of about 6 hours of sleep the last two nights, my mind is racing like crazy, and all I want to do is find a nice quiet place to hide and just worry about nothing.  I hope this is something that isn’t permanent. Maybe I can find a way to overcome it.  All I know is that it’s causing me serious problems right now and I need to do something about it one way or another. 



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Sometimes, you need to step away from reality for a little bit, and just get back to what matters for a while.  For me, it was spending the weekend in the Irish Hills of Michigan with an amazing person watching cars go around MIS at over 200MPH.  It was every bit the stress reliever I was hoping it would be.  I am now ready to finish up this A&P course, rock my Medic interview next month, and face the next 13 months of my life head on.  ImageImage

Two Down

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Head rattling, blank stares, clouds of mist…those three things pretty much sum up the first two weeks of A&P for me.  True, it’s being condensed into an 8 week period so there is going to be more thrown at me every class, but wow.  There were two chapters that had me so flabbergasted that I remember telling my teacher my “head felt like it was going to explode”.  Cellular membranes, mitochondria, cellular respiration….what do all these have to do with starting an IV or pushing adenosine or morphine? 

I’m sure at some point, I will realize why it needs to be taught.  I’ll have my proverbial “AHA moment.”  As for right now though, I plan on trying to lose myself in memorizing the bones and muscles and various other systems of the body.  At least until Friday, because then it’s time for a weekend away to decompress and recharge the batteries.  Stay safe everyone.


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My first week of A&P is now over.  I suffered through a lot of stress and worry over the last 6 months leading up to this.  I put a lot of stress on myself to kill this course and get myself ready for the chaos that is going to start in the fall.  I am worried about failing, REALLY worried about it.  Failure is a hard pill for me to swallow.  During my first class, the head of the program at my school came in and gave his little speech about what he is looking for and the journey that lies ahead.  One thing he said made my jaw drop.  Over 80% of the students accepted for the last Medic class either dropped out, or were bounced before they even were able to sit for the registry.  I had mixed emotions about that statement.  On one hand, I obviously became even more worried.  It has been almost 18 years since I last took part in college level education.  Yeah, I flew through the EMT-B course with relatively few problems, but that was given at a high school, during the evening, and it was VERY laid back.  This is the big time.  An accredited institution of higher learning.It’s not going to be easy.  They expect excellence.  On the other hand though, it dawned on me that maybe I shouldn’t be that afraid of failing.  I had a conversation with my PIC the other night, and she told me the same thing.  That it was okay to fail.  As much as it might hurt, sometimes you have to get knocked down before you can rise to the top. 

And then today came…CH 3 & 4.  Otherwise known as Biochemistry and Cells respectively.  I think my mouth may have been closed for maybe 10 minutes of the 3 hours I sat in class today.  The rest of the time, I was picking my jaw up off the ground as I was trying to wrap my head around what I was being taught.  I vaguely remember at one point telling my instructor I thought my head was going to go “POOF” at any moment.  I realized I am definitely going to have to hunker down and hit this thing with every ounce of determination I can muster.  I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.  Biology and Science were never my strong points in school. After two classes, my thoughts have definitely become realities for me. 

Today is the day

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Well, its finally here. In just over an hour, I will officially begin my 13 month journey towards achieving my Paramedic certification. I have to say I’m nervous as hell right now. This is something I’ve been waiting the last 6 months for, and now it’s here. Not to mention the fact that is been almost 20 years since I’ve been in school (ugh I just aged myself). Luckily, I have someone in my life that has given me more support and encouragement to get ready for this than I thought possible. I know I can do this. I WILL do this. Today, this is the first step.

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